For every 100 renters with extremely low incomes, only 30 homes are available. In some states, the situation is worse.

By Teresa at MSN Real Estate Feb 20, 2012 11:15AM

House for rent in the middle of winter (© David Joel/Getty Images)For every 100 renters with extremely low incomes, only 30 homes are available, according to a new report by a housing advocacy group.


That's true in all 50 states, according to the National Low Income Housing Coalition, which defines extremely low income as families that earn less than 30% of the median income for their area. That's almost 25% of all renters nationwide.


Those renters have fewer homes that are affordable and available in 13 states: Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Michigan, Nevada, Oregon, Texas, Utah, Washington and Wisconsin. The situation is most dire in Nevada, which has only 17% of the needed homes available for extremely low-income renters. The situation is best in Wyoming, which has 55 available and affordable rentals for every 100 extremely low-income renters.

Tags: rentals

Cape Coral-Fort Myers, Fla., saw the greatest increase in fourth-quarter home prices from 2010 to 2011, while Boise, Idaho, suffered the greatest decline.

By Teresa at MSN Real Estate Feb 16, 2012 1:04PM

Downtown Fort Myers, Fla.

© Walter Bibikow/Getty Images
Trying to follow housing statistics these days may give you whiplash, as you see cities flip from best to worst and back again.


Some of the markets doing the best today are those that suffered the worst declines in median home prices after the bust. One reason they are doing better, by some measures, is that once home prices plummeted, homes that had once been out of reach were affordable and attractive to both locals and out-of-town investors. In many areas, declining inventory has also buoyed prices.


That is why we find that the Cape Coral-Fort Myers area on Florida's southwest coast leads the list of the 10 best housing markets for the last quarter of 2011, based on data from the National Association of Realtors.


The new-home market shows signs of life, as builders start work on more homes and seek permits for others. Permits in January were 19% above last January's number.

By Teresa at MSN Real Estate Feb 16, 2012 11:07AM

© Kelly Redinger/Design Pics/CorbisBuilders began construction on 1.5% more single-family homes in January, 9.9% above the rate of a year ago, another indication that new-home building is beginning to emerge from the doldrums.


The number of building permits issued was 19% above last January's level, and statistics for December were revised upward in the Commerce Department's monthly report.


"Today's solid housing-starts report indicates that builders are putting more of their crews back to work, and adds to the growing field of evidence that the overall housing market is gradually but consistently moving in the right direction," Barry Rutenberg, the new chairman of the National Association of Home Builders and a homebuilder from Gainesville, Fla., said in a news release.


Wisconsin boy uses the website he set up for community-service projects to raise $10,500 so his grandmother could save the house her grandfather helped build.

By Teresa at MSN Real Estate Feb 15, 2012 12:30PM

Noah Lamaide signs a check at the Portage County, with his grandmother Janice Sparhawk and one of her former foster children, Nikki Wursinger 

(© Doug Wojcik /The Wausau Daily Herald)
Three years ago, Noah Lamaide, then 9, was challenged by his mother to do one community-service project every year.


He collected money for a food bank and organized a rummage sale to put on a picnic for veterans through Noah's Dream Catcher Network. He tried to send a friend whose mother was terminally ill to Disney World.


Last month, Noah, now 12, set out on a project closer to home: to help his 72-year-old grandmother save her home from foreclosure. A month later, he reached his goal, raising $10,500 through his website in small donations to save the home in Stevens Point, Wis., which his grandmother's family had owned for three generations.


Builder confidence rose for the fifth-straight month in February, to the highest level since 2007. The big question remains how many more foreclosures will come to market.

By Teresa at MSN Real Estate Feb 15, 2012 9:53AM

© Andy Sacks/Getty ImagesU.S. homebuilders are growing more optimistic, daring to hope that this year's spring homebuying season might actually bring some new-home sales.


The NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index rose from 25 in January to 29 in February. While it is still far from the 50 that would indicate an even keel between optimism and pessimism, the index has risen each of the past five months and is now at its highest point since 2007.


"This is the longest period of sustained improvement we have seen in the HMI since 2007, which is encouraging," David Crowe, chief economist for the National Association of Home Builders, said in a news release. "However, it is important to remember that the HMI is still very low, and several factors continue to constrain the market."


Four concept homes at the International Builders Show were designed to accommodate extended families, at different stages of life. The New American Home has gotten smaller.

By Teresa at MSN Real Estate Feb 14, 2012 1:54PM
Kitchen and living area in Gen Y house connect to the outside in BUILDER Concept Home 2012. 
James F. Wilson/Courtesy BUILDER magazine
One feature of the annual International Builders Show is the showcase New American Home.


This year, the builders brought us not only that home, but three additional Builder Concept Homes, designed for families in three stages of life.


Two features common to all the houses: open public gathering spaces and private suites for grandparents or adult children.


The New American Home, which was built on an infill lot near downtown Winter Park, Fla., is "a reinterpretation of the Classic White Box of the 1960s and '70s made popular by leading architects such as Le Corbusier and Richard Meier." Winter Park architect Phi Kean was also the builder.


Living alone not only improves your dating prospects, but it also may mean a better social life. Young adults are more likely to see homeowners as marriage material.

By Teresa at MSN Real Estate Feb 14, 2012 10:41AM

© Cultura/CorbisBack when I finished college, one of the top rules of dating was, "Never date a man who lives with his mother."


A generation later, when a sizable percentage of young adults are still living with mom and dad, living with one's parents is still a dating turnoff. In a Trulia survey on dating and housing, only 5% of adults said they would prefer to date someone who lived with parents.


If you need more reasons to get your own place, a new book says that people of all ages who live alone tend to have a better social life.


The $25 billion agreement reached last week includes more rights for consumers in their dealings with loan servicers. But will anything really change?

By Teresa at MSN Real Estate Feb 13, 2012 2:20PM

© Radius Images/JupiterimagesOne provision in the $25 billion mortgage settlement reached last week between the five largest banks and the state and federal governments is the pledge that loan servicers are going to treat borrowers better.


Think you've heard this before? You have.


Did anything improve? Not that anyone could tell. Banks are still losing documents and giving borrowers the runaround, not to mention forcing expensive homeowners insurance on borrowers who sometimes already have insurance.



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